Begun the Establishment Wars Have

Karl Rove

There’s no good way to put this except to say that we can all hope once the professional Republicans stop jumping up on nearby chairs, lifting their aprons, and shrieking “EEEEEEK” every time someone mentions the Tea Party, we can all have an adult conversation about the direction of the party.

The biggest donors in the Republican Party are financing a new group to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who Republican leaders worry could complicate the party’s efforts to win control of the Senate.The group, the Conservative Victory Project, is intended to counter other organizations that have helped defeat establishment Republican candidates over the last two election cycles. It is the most robust attempt yet by Republicans to impose a new sense of discipline on the party, particularly in primary races.“There is a broad concern about having blown a significant number of races because the wrong candidates were selected,” said Steven J. Law, the president of American Crossroads, the “super PAC” creating the new project. “We don’t view ourselves as being in the incumbent protection business, but we want to pick the most conservative candidate who can win.”

I’m sure the people behind the CVP want to help. I’m sure they want an ascendant Republican Party. I’m also very sure they believe their opinion of what “the most conservative candidate who can win” is superior to yours or mine. On the other hand, their arrogance, and that surely is what is on display here, is why they will fail. The only question is how much damage they will do to the party before they learn a little humility or are shoved aside.

A fight for the soul of the right has been brewing since at least the 2000 Presidential election that should have happened a few years ago. Only the attacks of 9/11 and the eminently pragmatic decision that national defense and the fight against Islamism was orders of magnitude more important than the execrable Compassionate Conservatism that bloated the budget and destroyed the GOP’s legitimacy as the party of limited government. Like it or not, we’re going to have to scrap now because we can not afford to have the struggle between kind of biggish government and honest limited government continue much longer.

We also need to hash out how we handle failure in the Republican Party. Few private companies would allow someone who was as laughably wrong as Karl Rove, et. al. were during the last campaign season continue in a leadership role. Rove has shown no contrition and, worse, no sign that he understands how wrong he was. Normally, the owners of the company would have demoted Rove or politely shown him the door. That he remains a Republican éminence grise is not a sign that the party is headed in the right direction.

Ramesh Ponnuru carried a good bit of water for the professional Republican set in this piece at NRO and it’s worth your time to read, if only to learn what that wing of the party really thinks about the Tea Party (hint: Todd Akin was not a Tea Party candidate and the Tea Party support for him after the primary came from pure political pragmatism, not a slavish adherence to principle).

(Photo Credit: chicagopublicmedia)